Socio-psychological attendance determinants for a team in the National Basketball Association
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This study examines socio-psychological factors influencing consumers’ attendance of a National Basketball Association (NBA) team’s game because understanding attendance determinants remains critical to the financial success of spectator sports. Sport consumption research has focused on team identification, motivation, and constraints in many contexts. Recent studies show a trend of examining their effects in combination through incorporation of negotiation strategies as theorized in active leisure research. Limitations in this literature are inattention to non-attendee populations and samples biased toward high identification levels. The author is not aware of any prior studies comparing non-attendee and attendee groups’ perceptions of team identification, motivation, constraints, and negotiation strategies for attendance. Team identification, motivation, constraints, and negotiation were measured using Likert type scales to test their relationships with participants’ attendance behavior. A single behavioral measure asking how many games each participant attended during the regular season was used. Those attending no games form a control group for comparison of attendees’ and non-attendees’ perceptions of the variables. Data were collected from May 2 through June 21, 2013 in a southeastern United States NBA team’s home state with 566 usable responses returned. First, it was hypothesized that each factor accounts for variance in attendance behavior. Hypothesis two is that these factors’ combined effects account for additional variance in attendance as compared to their individual effects. The third hypothesis is that negotiation strategies mediate the relationships of motivation and constraints, respectively, with attendance. Hypothesis four proposed that group differences in perception of team identification, motivation, constraint, and negotiation factors exist between attendees and non-attendees. Regression analyses revealed significant bivariate correlations between each independent variable and attendance as well as a significant increase in attendance variance accounted for when all variables were entered. Mediation by negotiation of both motivation and one constraint variable’s (commitments) respective relationships with attendance were supported. A two-group analysis of variance identified significant differences in perception of team identification, motivation, several constraint variables, and negotiation strategies between groups. Perception of two constraint variables, commitments and lack of someone to attend with, did not differ significantly between groups of non-attendees and attendees.